Donating materials to TV shows

There are entire television networks devoted to remodeling and home design shows. In addition to advertising and sponsorship opportunities, many of these programs offer product placements that can give a product or brand valuable exposure to an audience of potential buyers.
The more popular shows can command payment for the placements. Less popular shows, however, rely on donated materials to keep production costs low.  While a manufacturer may not have to pay for the placement, the exposure they receive can exemplify the adage, "you get what you pay for."

Ceilume, one of my clients, was recently invited to donate ceiling panels for a restaurant make-over show.  Here are some of the criteria my client used to decide whether to participate.
  • Our product name must be mentioned/discussed within the context of the show as part of the "This is what we're going to do" portion.
  • Our product packaging, with logo, must be featured (e.g. opening box, removing product) during the "Now we're doing it" portion.
  • At least one section of the "reveal" at the end must focus on the product, with the product name repeated in conjunction, during the "Look at the cool thing we did" portion.
  • The show must fit our brand's image and reach an audience with appropriate demographics and audience size.
  • While there is no "pay for play", the costs associated with providing materials, shipping, technical support, and the rest must be reasonable.
  • Will we be able to use photography and footage from the show and the show's logo on our website and promotional materials? Will there be costs for this?
  • Can we send someone to be there during the shoot?  Products with "on-site" representatives get better coverage AND better usage.
  • Do we have confidence the product will be installed properly? Will we have warranty exposure?  For example, the show's production schedule allowed only 24 hours for on-site remodeling work.  This would have required shortcuts, such as applying products before substrates had fully cured.
My client's sales manager says, "It's worth noting that no one has fully met our requirements.  We expect producers to meet several of them or offer some other incentives.  It shows they're actually interested in featuring a unique product, and not to just 'get the job done'. We accept lesser offers for more popular shows and networks, such as prime time shows."

Ceilume decided to pass on the present opportunity.